4 Content marketing tips for startups

During a pre-sale call for my consulting service, a client asked me if I did content marketing “campaigns.”

Now there are PPC campaigns, impression campaigns, and even some podcasting could be looked at as a campaign — but not your overall content marketing.

Here’s why: If you’re looking at content creation as as this thing you “do” and not an expression of yourself or the company, the passion isn’t there and you’re just flipping switches. Content has to be compelling, informative and most of all authentic. You can’t just bust out a stencil and trace the lines to create your blog post — if you did everyone would be pumping out the same thing.

Content Marketing for Entrepreneurs

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The best time to create content is right when you start that next big idea. I’m not just talking about the blogging daily, I’m talking about publishing content on various channels — start your a media empire. 

“But I’m not ready for marketing!” you shout.

That’s, ok, in fact it’s perfect! So, many of you have heard of the lean startup methodology, start with something that solves this small problem and get it into the hands of others as quickly as possible. This production line validates the business and the product with a niche market or case study.

You can validate your idea with content marketing before you even begin to put sweat equity into coding.

Validate your idea with a blog post

Recently, I posted about the benefits of becoming a mentor. If you haven’t thought about sharing your experiences with a young padawan, head on over to that post and consider it — mentoring will change your life.

That little blog post, or seed as I refer to it, had some great feedback. Folks were leaving comments and connecting with each other to help out. I received a bunch of e-mails from around the world looking to see if they could get help.

Ok, this idea is validated.

I launched an MVP of the mentor program over at WP Mentor and as of this writing there are 17 listings for mentors and mentees. More validation, now with actual results and practice.

Gauging design feedback on Instagram


I see Brian Gardner do this a lot. Now, I’m not saying he does this on purpose, but it’s something you can certainly leverage. Use Instagram to post design concepts or mockups. Look for comments there and grow an audience. It’s a great channel to add to your media empire.

Lastly, cool design photos are perfect for that medium and it’s not out of place. Look at each channel you create content as if it were TV. Would you put the same advertisement out for your company during an episode of Walking Dead as you would The Today Show?

More channels + diverse audience = quality feedback.

Screencasts for beta plugins

Got a plugin or SaaS business that’s still not ready for the public consumption? A screencast is a perfect piece of media  to shed some early light on your product.

The above example is a 3 minute walk through of BackupBuddy, not an actual product demo, but you get the idea.It doesn’t have to be long and detailed — remember your plugin is still in it’s early days.

What you want to do is give someone a fly by, or series of casts, to gauge the feedback. YouTube provides some deep metrics of engagement, so you can really have fun in the data to see what the audience is liking — or what they don’t like.

Don’t forget, build up your audience on YouTube. On launch day, instead of having no one to market to, you will have thousands of eager subscribers to pitch the product to.

And when you have NO product…

“Hey Matt, this is great but I don’t even have a product yet!”

Not a problem. Do you have a cofounder or another screen you can record?

Produce some live Google Hangouts to demonstrate your idea with some basic slide shows and give us insight to your concept. As the stages mature, you can record your weekly or monthly meetings with your team and really give the audience some insight to how you’re growing the business.

Think about it, this early stage audience is going to make for great early adopters when you come to market. Better yet, you might be able to scoop up some beta testers which you will inevitably need. If they are spending the time to follow your new idea, chances are they want it at launch day or at the very least, they will refer you to someone who does.

Building your media empire

So here’s my point: Build your audience while you build your product.

Ultimately our products are going to change. You’re going to find a new use case or someone isn’t going to like XYZ feature and things change. The hard part will be selling these changes all over again. It’s also going to be harder to discover a new audience later than from the beginning stages.

Today it’s super easy to start a podcast or blog daily. Don’t get overwhelmed with all of the channels available to you. Take a step back and look at where you’re succeeding already. Is it Twitter? Let’s grow there. Is it a Facebook group? Nurture it.

You can do a lot or a little, but don’t be afraid to hit publish and start today!

Where are you growing your media? Tell us in the comments. Like what I’m saying here? Subscribe to my Newsletter.



4 responses to “4 Content marketing tips for startups”

  1. thanks for providing audio podcast to go along with the text. while I have not listened to the audio yet> do you find it easier to create text version first or audio format? do you recommend offering content in multiple formats as regular practice?

    1. Great question Lisa. So far I’ve been just experimenting with audio + blog post, but it looks to be well received.

      I drafted the blog post first before doing the audio.

  2. That’s a great idea with the video!

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